Letter to White House Calling for Withdrawal of Dudley Nomination

November 13, 2006

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I am writing to request that you withdraw the nomination of Susan E. Dudley to become the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Office of Management and Budget.

I was encouraged to hear you strike a conciliatory tone in your post-election press conference.  The Dudley nomination is the perfect opportunity to put that conciliatory promise into action. The enormous power that the OIRA administrator would wield over all public health, safety, environmental, civil rights, privacy, and consumer safeguards makes this nomination too important an issue to leave to this lame duck Congress. 

It would, in fact, be best for the public if a more suitable nominee altogether were found.  Dudley is unfit to be the nation’s top regulatory czar. Throughout her career, Dudley has consistently fought against government safeguards and advocated a radical, hands-off approach to regulating corporations.  As director of regulatory studies at the industry-funded Mercatus Center, Dudley has sought to strike down countless environmental, health, and safety safeguards, such as EPA’s attempts to keep arsenic out of drinking water and lower levels of disease-causing smog, NHTSA’s life-saving air bag regulations, and the Department of Transportation’s hours-of-service rules to keep sleep-deprived truck drivers off the roads.

If allowed to serve as OIRA administrator, Dudley would continue her anti-regulatory agenda from a position with enormous power over federal health, safety, and environmental protections.  She would come to this office with a radical agenda that would destroy the federal government’s ability to protect the public. The public cannot afford to pay that price.

At Mercatus, Dudley has advocated radical policies such as regulatory sunsets, or mandatory expiration dates for all protective standards, which would force agencies to plea for the continuation of critical safeguards. She also supports regulation-stalling techniques that induce “paralysis by analysis,” such as wanting federal agencies to wait to impose rules until near-perfect estimates of the precise causes and effects of the hazards to be regulated are known. Collecting this secondary information can take years, during which the public will continue to be put at risk.

An OIRA administrator with such an extreme ideological hostility to regulation would undercut safeguards needed to ensure the health and safety of the public and to protect the environment.  In the spirit of your new tone of bipartisan cooperation, I call on you to withdraw the Dudley nomination.


Joan Claybrook